On November 29, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder convened the first of four public hearings of the National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, a part of the Defending Childhood initiative, which is gathering expert and community testimony on children’s exposure to violence. Recent research shows that more than sixty (60) percent of American children have been exposed to violence, crime, or abuse—many within their own homes.
The task force will hold additional hearings this year in Albuquerque, NM; Miami, FL; and Detroit, MI. These hearings will help the task force to identify promising practices, programs, and community strategies to prevent and respond to children’s exposure to violence. The task force will also issue a final report to the attorney general presenting its findings and comprehensive policy recommendations.
To learn more about the afore-referenced task force, visit: www.justice.gov/defendingchildhood/task-force.html. Also visit the U.S. Department of Justice’s Defending Childhood initiative at www.justice.gov/defendingchildhood. Additionally, you can read a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice on the first hearing on children’s exposure to violence at: www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/November/11-ag-1541.html.
Sources: Prevent-Connect, Ohio Department of Health’s Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Prevention Program, US Dept. of Justice Action Center.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
This week, probably today, the United States House of Representatives will vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority in both chambers for passage, which equates to two hundred ninety (290) votes in the House of Representatives and sixty-seven (67) votes in the US Senate. The amendment would also need to be ratified by the states. Call your elected officials in Washington and urge them to vote “NO” on the proposed balanced budget and here is why:
“The US House of Representatives will be voting on H.J. Res. 2, a proposal that does not include a global spending cap or a requirement for a super majority for raising taxes, like the prior proposal H.J. Res. 1. However, the proposal up for consideration does require a super majority vote in Congress to waive or raise the debt ceiling. Many economists warn that adding a balanced budget amendment to the constitution would “adversely affect” our national economy. Additionally, the balanced budget amendment could cause significant budget cuts across many federal programs that serve vulnerable children, youth, and families as well as create significant job losses.”[i]
In sum and substance, a balanced amendment removes the ability of the federal government to respond quickly to economic crises. Analysis from leading economists finds, “if a constitutional balanced budget requirement had been ratified in 2008 and took effect in fiscal year 2012, ‘ The effect on the economy would be catastrophic.’[ii] If the 2012 budget were balanced through spending cuts, those cuts would have to total about $1.5 trillion in 2012 alone, which the report estimates would throw about 15 million more people out of work, double the unemployment rate from 9 percent to approximately 18 percent, and cause the economy to shrink by about 17 percent instead of growing by an expected 2 percent.”[iii] The nation’s long-term fiscal challenges with the budget and taxes are such that our elected leaders need every tool available to generate balanced, equitable solutions.
Short Summary of the Balanced Budget Amendment (H.J. Res 2)[iv]:
“H. J. Res. 2 would generally require that the U.S. government operate under a balanced budget each year and not run any deficits, unless each chamber of Congress agrees to a deficit by a three-fifths vote.
Increases in the statutory debt limit also would require a three-fifths vote of each chamber. Unlike some other constitutional amendment proposals, it does not cap total federal spending or require supermajority votes to raise taxes.
Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority vote of each chamber in order to be submitted to the states for ratification. It is expected the measure will be considered under suspension of the rules, which bars amendments and requires a two-thirds majority vote for passage.
Even if you have done so before, please call your representative NOW at 1-866-277-7617. Ask for your representative’s specific office.
Here is what your representative needs to hear from you:
Vote “NO” on the balanced budget amendment, H.J. Res. 2.
This proposal will hurt America’s children and families by making massive budget cuts when the economy is at its weakest and unemployment is at its highest.
Making deep, shortsighted cuts now will short-circuit our children’s potential success in the future. The cuts to programs and services for children, youth, and families, like education, health, college assistance, and income supports, would be both immediate and devastating and would fall hardest on low-income families and children.”
For more information on the devastating impact of adopting a balanced budget amendment, visit the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities website.
Sources: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities website. Voices For Americas Children Action Alert.
It will soon be Thanksgiving and in the American tradition, many will prepare a celebration to express their gratitude to God for all the blessings in their lives. Most celebrate with a turkey dinner. It is a longstanding tradition.
This year’s Thanksgiving holiday, for many families, is filled with worry about how they will pay their bills in December. The National Association of Working Women remind us that, “…Nearly 8 million workers and their families have been kept afloat by the extension of the federal unemployment insurance program while they search for work in this tough economy. Unemployment is at a historic high of 9.6%, and jobless workers across the country are doing all they can to meet their families’ basic needs. Long-term unemployment is at a level not seen since the Great Depression– over 42% of all unemployed (6.1 million workers) have been without a job for over 6 months, and 30% (4.4 million workers) have been out of work for over a year.” How would you celebrate if you couldn’t afford to buy the traditional Thanksgiving food? There would be no turkey, no mashed potatoes, no gravy, no dressing, and even no pumpkin pie.
Many throughout our nation are facing another Thanksgiving holiday that will not include the traditional meal with all the trimmings. Economic times are very difficult for countless families and food budgets, for many, are stretched to the limit. You can make it a better holiday for a family in your community. Donate to your local community food bank and you will help make Thanksgiving a joyous day for many of your neighbors in need. After all, it’s an American tradition. Make a difference; change a life.
Additionally, tell your members of Congress to protect programs that give hope and opportunity to people experiencing hunger and poverty. Reducing our nation’s long-term debt is critical, but hungry and poor people didn’t cause the problem, and cutting programs that help them won’t significantly reduce our debt. But cutting these programs will have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable members of our society. As the Super Committee considers budget cuts, please join me in urging Congress to keep our nation’s commitment to those Jesus called “the least of these.” Please join me in sending an email to our members of Congress today and remind them that they are in office to care for all their constituents not simply the 1%.
Source(s): The National Association of Working Women. Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
As the Thanksgiving holiday is fast approaching, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s founder Morris Dees reminds us that as we sit down to give thanks for the bounty of our nation and for all the blessings we enjoy, we should remember those who do the backbreaking labor that puts food on our tables.
In response to the plight of migrant farm workers, in 2010, the Southern Poverty Law Center released an investigative report entitled “Injustice on Our Plates” which exposes the exploitation of poverty-stricken immigrant women working in our nation’s food industry.
The report not only tells the story of individuals it includes federal recommendations related to comprehensive immigration reforms that will ensure fairness for farm workers and others who are feeding our nation with their labor.
Dees states that, in addition to wage cheating, sexual harassment in the workplace is a fact of life for the women he interviewed for the report. The report indicates that fear keeps these women silent, so their suffering is invisible to all of us who benefit from their labor every time we sit down at the dinner table.
Dees reminds us in his eye-opening investigative report that, “We, as a nation, have allowed this shameful exploitation to continue for far too long. We have a moral obligation to recognize the problem and to take a stand.”
To learn more, please get the report and urge your lawmakers to take up comprehensive immigration reform and strengthen laws that will ensure fairness for farm workers and others who are feeding us with their labor. With an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action we can change the world.
Source(s): Southern Poverty Law Center. “Injustice On Our Plates”. Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art
Send a message to Congress that Americans need jobs, not budget cuts to very necessary programs and services. Throughout our nation our infrastructure is crumbling as demonstrated by: the roads, schools, libraries, and parks that should be built or repaired. We have countless communities in our nation that have bridges in need of desperate repair, pothole covered streets, and missing street lights. Funding must be made available for maintaining our nation’s infrastructure. This necessary funding will serve multiply purposes including but not limited to: rebuild our nation’s infrastructure; as well as improve our economy because it would put unemployed people back to work across our nation.
Let your elected officials know that you are an everyday person, part of the 99%, and an informed voter. Further that you and other 99% members are calling on our government officials to make prudent decisions that would help our economy and our families. Call on legislators in the Super Committee to make decisions that will bring jobs and improvements to our communities, ultimately economic growth. It’s time for our elected officials in Washington to make decisions which improve the health and welfare of the 99%. Toward that goal, get involved. Take action that can and will change the future. Call or email your elected officials in Washington and let them know your thoughts about our nation’s economy. Additionally, if you are not already registered, get registered to vote. During elections, seize the opportunity to cast your vote. As was aptly stated by President Johnson when discussing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, “The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.”[i]
Your vote can be decisive, stand up, speak out, be heard— participate in the “Rebuild the American Dream” movement and make your voice be heard. For further information on the “Rebuild the
American Dream Movement”, visit http://www.moveon.org. Sources: Moveon.org. Wikipedia.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art